Archdeacons: Introduction

Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 7, Bath and Wells. Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 2001.

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'Archdeacons: Introduction', Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 7, Bath and Wells, (London, 2001), pp. 25. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "Archdeacons: Introduction", in Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 7, Bath and Wells, (London, 2001) 25. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "Archdeacons: Introduction", Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: Volume 7, Bath and Wells, (London, 2001). 25. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,


The territorial division of the three archdeaconries (fn. 1) - Bath, Wells, and Taunton - had probably occurred before 1106, as three archdeacons occur together some time between July and 23 September in that year (EEA X no. 3). But it is not possible to assign to their archdeaconries these or any of the other archdeacons who occur down to the year 1135: they are listed below in list 9, as archdeacons who occur without territorial title.

Although territorial titles are rarely given before the third decade of the twelfth century, a starting-point for the construction of lists is the witness-clause of a charter issued by bishop Robert June/July 1141 × c. 1142 (EEA X no. 21), where three archdeacons appear together. Thereafter it is possible to deduce the archdeaconries held by most of the men named as archdeacons. The archdeaconry of Taunton ('beyond the Parrett') throws up some problems, which are exacerbated by the presence of men called 'archdeacon' in all three archdeaconries who can be shown to have been deputies, or vice-archdeacons. Evidence for the vicearchdeacons is given in the lists below in footnotes under the relevant archdeacon.

A decree of bishop Jocelin, dated 11 July 1215, which regulates the fruits of vacant churches (Cal. I 67), (fn. 2) mentions a fourth archdeaconry in addition to Bath, Wells and Taunton: this is the monastic archdeaconry whose jurisdiction covered the exempt churches belonging to the abbey of Glastonbury. (fn. 3)


  • 1. On this subject, see Robinson, SHE pp. 73-99, and the valuable assessment by C. N. L. Brooke, 'The archdeacon and the Norman Conquest', Tradition and Change: Essays in honour of Marjorie Chibnall, ed. D. Greenway, C. Holdsworth and J. Sayers (Cambridge, 1985) pp. 1-19, esp. pp. 13- 16.
  • 2. For debate on the matter in 1321, see Cal. I 429-30.
  • 3. On this archdcnry., see J. Sayers, 'Monastic archdeacons', in Church and Government in the Middle Ages: Essays presented to C. R. Cheney, ed. C. N. L. Brooke et al. (Cambridge, 1976) pp. 177-203, esp. pp. 182-5.